Friday, 18 October 2013

Foliage followup October 2013

What better way to celebrate the first anniversary of my blog than posting my first ever foliage blog.
It's been raining here for the last 2 days - I love the garden in the rain and I love to garden in the rain!
I always think that gardens take on a different dimension when it's moist and misty outdoors.  The senses are really turned on when we venture outdoors on rainy occasions.  The one job I love to do when it's raining is weeding.  The weeds pull out the soil with little effort, especially in the lovely rich soil I have in my garden.  Quite possibly gardening in the rain is not for everyone but I do recommend giving it a try - I often feel just as invigorated as my garden does!  Having said that, I would not dream on venturing out in torrential rain, unless absolutely necessary and it is not recommended to plant or move plants when the soil is waterlogged.

As I was busying myself with moving some pots and containers into their winter homes I just couldn't help admiring how lovely foliage looks in the rain.

Physocarpus opulifolius Burning Embers
In sharp contrast to the lush Physocarpus foliage, which might just be the perfect background shrub for my new Kniphofia, Bee's Lemon, we have the ouch factor!

Mahonia x media Charity
Not all Mahonia have the ouch factor though, a new, rather expensive self indulgence -   Mahonia eurybracteata subsp.ganpinensis Soft Caress.  Far more tactile that its cousins - we grimace no more!

Mahonia eurybracteata subsp.ganpinensis Soft Caress
This Mahonia and it's partner sit comfortable either side of the front door - in good sized terracotta pots.  They won the RHS Chelsea Flower Show - Plant of the Year 2013.  Which explains the high cost,  I hope I'm not disappointed!

Another from the Mahonia family Mahoberberis Dart's Desire.  A Mahonia and Berberis hybrid this low growing (50cm) evergreen shrub is very easily identified as such.  It produces lovely new red leaves in spring.
Mahoberberis Dart's Desire

Terracotta pots are often a good way to highlight foliage of plants.  I've yet to find a candidate that doesn't look good in terracotta.  Take Wooly Thyme - this plant would never in a million years survive planted in the soil in my garden - it often looks at it's best trailing over brick walls, which I don't have!  I can have a similar effect by growing in a good sized pot.
Thyme pseudolanuginosus

Unlike the Thyme, Black mondo grass does grow happily in the borders.  It also does well in containers.  This specimen is underplanted with deep blue Iris reticulata and really comes into it's own in spring time but unlike other spring containers - I can leave it basking in the sun and enjoy it year round.  The light bouncing from the wet black leaves is almost mirror like and difficult to capture.
Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens (AGM)

I like to grow some clover in a pot for the bumblebees - when flowering is over it is sheered right back and will produce new leaves which will often remain looking good over winter.  This purple four leaved clover is far too invasive to grow in the borders and I hope by keeping it contained - it will remain well behaved!

Trifolium repens Purpurascens 'Quadrofolium'

Limp and heavy with rain the Acer foliage provides quite a dramatic background for the Japanese holly fern and others.  Red and Green together is, in my opinion, one of mother nature's perfect partnerships
Acer palmatum dissectum Crimson Queen and Cyrtomium fortunei

There are lots of reds and greens around


Cotoneaster, Leucothoe and Heuchera

Variegated Cornus

Holly and ripening berries

 Varying shades and textures of green in a red container makes for a great looking winter display
Variegated Euonymus, Heuchera, Ivy and Maidenhair fern planted up for a winter display
Drenched in rain - species Nasturtium with it's green leaves and red calyx grows happily through the privet hedge.  Later the green seeds will ripen to metallic blue berries
Tropaeolum speciosum
From the tiny proportions of the Tropaeolum leaves to the massive proportions of the Fatsia foliage

Providing an almost jungle effect in the side garden Fatsia is very much at home in the shade
Fatsia, Fern, Magnolia and Zantedeschia looking lush in October rain 
Regular rainfall will provide better conditions for the slimy creatures I mentioned in my previous post - I suspect the Lupins will one of the first casualties, it usually is!

I'm seeing mixed messages from Hosta So Sweet - it seems a bit confused as to what time of the year it is

Hosta So Sweet

Euphorbia characias Silver Swan - not only tall and elegant in the heavy rain, it really lights up on a dull day.

Euphorbia Silver Swan
I do suspect I may have over done my first foliage post - so a big thank you for your patience and perseverance.  It wasn't supposed to be this lengthy and believe me, there was lots I left out.  

I leave you with a shot of my favourite shrub, complete with cobweb for effect!

Cornus alternifolia Argentea


  1. A post like this can never be to long Angie. I love to see the different kind of foliage especialy with the raindrops.
    I also don't mind to do some gardening when it's grey and rainy. I love the scent the garden brings at those moments.
    Have a wonderful weekend Angie.

  2. Beautiful photos!! I don't care for the rain. The last time we had a stretch of rainy weather, I didn't see my raised beds for two weeks! Happy first year of your blog!

  3. What an unusual mahonia - I've never seen this before.

  4. Great photography and the raindrops on the leaves is beautiful. Enjoyable post!

  5. One of the best Foliage Follow-Up posts I've ever seen! You should do this more often! I agree that the plants look wonderful with a fresh rain. My only issue with gardening in the rain is that the camera gets wet. How do you keep yours dry?

  6. Great photos, I love seeing water droplets on foliage.

  7. Such beautiful foliage, so many different colours and textures, just like a beautiful tapestry. I have always been very keen on contrasting foliage in the garden, then , there is always something to enjoy when the flowers are having a rest.

  8. Lovely foliage shots. You got some great ones showing off all the rain. That does make for some great photos.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  9. Happy blogaversary! I am going to have to look for that mahonia soft caress. So unusual! And the Enkianthus is quite striking. I also love the red against the silver swan. Just beautiful. You have some fabulous foliage in your garden.

  10. Foliage look so good in the rain, and your photos are making them even better! Congratulations on your one year of blogging, a milestone :-) And my Hosta ‘So Sweet’ is flowering too, perhaps the good summer we have had are making them a bit confused?

  11. The lupine foliage looks magnificent spangled with raindrops. My Christmas present last year was foul weather gear so that I can garden in the rain, but I must confess that I haven't used it yet. When the rains came in September, they came with a vengeance...none of that pleasant, misty stuff. I'm sure there will be opportunities, though. We are well known for our many varieties of rain.

  12. Happy blogiversary, and thanks for joining in for Foliage Follow-Up! I enjoyed seeing your dramatic black and red foliage plants. You may be surprised to know that despite the extreme difference between our two climates (I'm in Austin, TX, USA), we're both able to grow the 'Soft Caress' mahonia. It's one of my favorite foliage plants for shade!

  13. Hi Angie,

    Not a fan of gardening in the rain as such, but I don't mind some drizzle or getting a bit wet. But full on rain isn't for me. Mainly because it'll ruin my hair ;) but also because our soil is heavy clay so it's not a good idea anyway. I've been increasingly frustrated over the past week because it's been too wet and I need to clear up plants that have turned an unsightly black as they've died back.

    But yes you're quite right - things look very different when wet, and the garden is truly magical when sun comes out after rain. I love it.

  14. Happly blogaversary - and definitely not over done, a lovely array of foliage, though I am afraid I do not share your love of weeding in the rain, I get large clods of earth attached to my weeds and I hate wasting good earth! 'Soft Caress' is on my wishlist, though I am hoping that in a year to two it will have come down in price a little. I've never come across Mahoberberis Dart's Desire, so thank you for that introduction, I shall remember that when I want a good evergreen foliage.

  15. You're right, Angie: Gardens and gardening in the rain can be beautiful and your images prove it too. I like the dark black foliage of Physocarpus and the red stems of the Enkianthus. Bees Lemon grows in my garden too and would certainly appreciate Physocarpus as a background. Just got myself Mahonia Soft Caress and think it's delightful! Happy first Blogger Birthday and keep up the good work :)

  16. Thank you all for the lovely comments. It seems there is around a 50/50 split on whether we garden in the rain or not - I'm glad you all enjoyed and I'm sure I'll be joining the Foliage Follow Up in future!

  17. Love the sedum with the silver swan photo! I'm going to vote no on the raingardening, rain -good, me wet -bad :)

  18. You certainly do have lots of colorful foliage. Loved the water beading on the Lupin leaves.

  19. What lovely clover! I had clover with half-opening leaves and red blotches. It was very pretty. It vanished.

  20. Angie your foliage is amazing especially the darker and black foliage.


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